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If you’re having a reupholster vs. replace debate, take a hard look and decide whether it’s likely to last long enough to justify the cost. Don’t reupholster if the piece won’t last as long as the new fabric.

Even if a piece is likely to last, you may not save money by reupholstering it. By reupholstering, you do save the frame, springs, and probably some padding and stuffing. But a comparable new piece can cost as much as, or possibly less than, what an upholsterer will charge you.

If you decide to reupholster, choose your upholsterer carefully: As our ratings reveal, most area companies routinely offer superior customer service—but slipshod workmanship and other problems are all too common.

Ask upholsterers how large a deposit you’ll have to put down (the lower the better). Ask to see examples of similar work. Check its fabric selection—the best shops should offer seemingly unlimited choices. Get a written estimate in advance, and shop around to make sure you’re not paying too much. Our price comparison scores help you find shops that charge fair prices.

Before turning over your furniture to an upholsterer, discuss exactly what work will be done, and get the main points and price written onto a work order. Pay by credit card so you can contest charges if you deem the work unsatisfactory.